Neal A. Maxwell Quotes
Church Members will live in this wheat-and-tares situation until the Millennium. Some real tares even masquerade as wheat, including a few eager individuals who lecture the rest of us about the Church doctrines in which they no longer believe. They criticize the use of Church resources to which they no longer contribute. They condescendingly seek to counsel the Brethren whom they no longer sustain. Confrontive, except of themselves of course, they leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone.
(Ensign, Becometh As a Child)
Church … leaders are cruelly caricatured by some in the world. For perspective, imagine how television’s six o’clock news would have portrayed Noah as he worked on his ark day by day. Besides, attention from the adversary is merely a cruel form of commendation, if we can but stand the “praise.” There is such a thing as being praised with faint damns.
Why are a few members, who somewhat resemble the ancient Athenians, so eager to hear some new doubt or criticism? (see Acts 17:21). Just as some weak members slip across a state line to gamble, a few go out of their way to have their doubts titillated. Instead of nourishing their faith, they are gambling “offshore” with their fragile faith. To the question “Will ye also go away?” these few would reply, “Oh, no, we merely want a weekend pass to go to a casino for critics or a clubhouse for cloakholders.” Such easily diverted members are not disciples but fair-weather followers.
Some murmurers seem to hope to reshape the Church to their liking by virtue of their murmuring. But why would one want to belong to a church that he could remake in his own image, when it is the Lord’s image that we should come to have in our countenances? (see Alma 5:19). The doctrines are His, brothers and sisters, not ours. The power is His to delegate, not ours to manipulate!
Exciting exploration is preferred [by some] to plodding implementation; speculation seems more fun than consecration, and so is trying to soften the hard doctrines instead of submitting to them. Worse still, by not obeying, these few members lack real knowing (see John 7:17).
Lacking real knowing, they cannot defend their faith and may become critics instead of defenders! A few of the latter end up in the self-reinforcing and self congratulating Hyde Park corner of the Church, which they provincially mistake for the whole of the Church, as if London’s real Hyde Park corner were Parliament, Whitehall, Buckingham Palace, and all of England combined!
Some insist upon studying the Church only through the eyes of its defectors–like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.
(All Hell is moved, 177.)
Trying to run ahead of the leaders is, in effect, trying to preempt their role as shepherds of the flock. As with the shepherds in the Middle East, prophets are to lead the flock; they do not herd the flock, nor do they merely follow it… To run ahead is to say in effect that we, and not the prophets, know best, especially if we try to take some of the flock with us.
(All these Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 105, 106.)
There are those who reject following the Brethren because they wish to be the leaders. This is a mortal reflection of Lucifer’s bid in the premortal world. His need for ascendancy was so great that he simply would not follow.
(All these Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 110.)
The critics of the Church, who are often those within the Church, frequently say, “Why doesn’t the Church do this or that?” or “Why does the Church do this or that?” Those who desire to make the greatest demands of the Church are usually those who make the fewest demands of themselves in terms of their discipleship.
(Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, 69.)
If the Church were not true, our enemies would be bored rather than threatened, and acquiescent rather than anxious. Hell is moved only when things move heavenward.
(Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, 81.)
As critics become more clever and enemies more numerous, let us remember and be reassured by the resurrected Jesus’ promise: “My wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil” (3 Nephi 21:10). Talk of desirable perspective! One major deprivation of the adversary is that he simply does not know the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; see also Moses 4:6).
(Lord, Increase Our Faith, 96.)